Chris' point of view
I try to act normal with Ruby even though it's hard. I can see sparks of how she used to be but they're barely there. She's still her, but a sad version of her, a broken version. I'm so worried and sad and scared for her but I act like I always do. I don't think it would help her if I was panicking.
I walk into her room one night and she's just sat there organising one of her chests of drawers. She's never doing anything interesting anymore really, I don't think she can focus, she just does things she has to do.
"Hey you." I say, flopping down onto her bed.
"Hey." she says sighing and slamming the drawer shut.
I frown, laughing. "What's the matter with you, stressy?"
"I can't find my passport." she says, opening, rifling through and then slamming another drawer.
I frown. "Why do you need your passport?"
She goes completely still. "I'm going on vacation."
"No you're not." I raise my eyebrows, smiling at her. "I am best friends with your brother, remember? Come on, tell me, how bad can it be?"
She just sits where she is, looking at me, her eyes wide. She keeps almost saying something and then not. My smile fades. Maybe this isn't a little thing.
"I have something to tell you." she says.
"Okay." I say, trying to make sure my voice doesn't shake. My heart's pounding.
"I can't go to your college." she says.
I feel relieved. "Is that it? You're going to a different state?" I know Ruby won't go far at all. "Ruby, trains exist, don't worry about it."
"No, I'm..." she sighs heavily and looks at the floor. "I don't want to tell you."
My nerves are completely back. "Just tell me."
She looks at me, an anxious look on her face. "I'm going to college- university, in England."
I don't believe it. I don't let it process. That's something that could never happen, something that I never even thought about, ever.
"What?" is all I can stutter.
"I'm going to England instead of college." she repeats. "I'm going to study in Sheffield for a few years..."
She tells me all about this course and England and Sheffield and I'm waiting to feel sad when I realise that I'm not sad, not right now. I'm frustrated with her, maybe even angry. She's sat there explaining everything to me, probably waiting for me to tell her it's okay and that I support her and maybe that's what I should do but I don't feel like doing that.
"And I'm going to-"
"Are you kidding me?" I ask.
She sighs as if she knew I was going to be like this but at the same time, her eyes are wide and innocent as if she's shocked.
"If you're gonna yell at me, we've gotta go outside so we don't wake anybody up." she says.
I almost go all defensive and huff "I'm not gonna yell at you" but I can't promise anything so we step outside. She looks at me expectantly, crossing her arms. I feel like such a dick feeling this way but I do.
"I just don't think it's a good idea." I say.
"But why?" she asks, exasperated. "It's the perfect course, I've always kind of wanted to live in England and I... I don't want to see Jason. I just think it's best I get away from here, try to get my head back."
"I think it's running away from your problems." I tell her, bluntly.
She frowns. "Chris, you know that's not how it is. You can't tell me I'm wrong for deciding to do this."
"I think I can, Ruby!" I say, trying my hardest not to shout. "Running away from Jason and what happened isn't going to give you any closure, you need to face what happened and just deal with it!"
"It isn't like that though!" she shouts. "I can't deal with it like that, it's not going to work, I just want to get away from it all! I just want to get away and forget and that's what's going to work for me, why can't you just understand?"
"I understand what you're doing and I think you're being pathetic and weak, Ruby!" I shout back and immediately regret it. Not enough to apologise though.
She's past angry now. She's just hurt. For a moment, she's completely hurt and vulnerable and upset and I feel terrible and then she puts her face in her hands. When she takes her hands away, she doesn't look stone cold like I would have expected. She just looks tired.
"Okay." she sighs, wearily. "Fine. Just don't bother with me anymore, please."
I know she isn't being spiteful or snappy, she means it and I am left there not knowing what to do or say while she goes back to hide in her room, just like before. All I can do is wonder what I've just done.